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  • Winners Medal [Fruits in Syrup] – Agricultural Society of New South Wales – 1878

    The Agricultural Society of New South Wales issued these sumptuous medals to class winners. This one was issued for the 1878 show.

    9.0 cm in diameter cast in bronze and makes quite a statement. Made by Hardy Brothers of London and Sydney. A few bumps around the edge and a hint of compression, still beautifully defined and imposing.

    Features the female form depicting “New South Wales” standing and looking forward holding alighted torch and holding the wreath of a victor. Around her are four children representing the four seasons with harvest wheat, grapes and sheep to tend. Below in three small panels the arts, agriculture and industry are represented.

    On the obverse the victor’s wreath circling the engraved winners details under the slogan of the event “Practice with Science”.

    “Sydney Jam Preserving Coy for best Collection of Fruits in Syrup – Sydney 1878”

    A good and early example of this grand Agricultural Winners Medal.


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  • Tasmania to the Letter – Mike Jenkinson

    Tasmania to the Letter – Mike Jenkinson

    An unusual alphabetically arranged potpourri of all things about and relating to Tasmania [Over 700 items]. Starts with abalone and ends with Zinc and is much more interesting in between. The paragraph on irascible talented and sadly gone artist Geoff Dyer and his Archibald winning portrait of Richard Flanigan is a good example of its honed quality.

    Softcover, perfect bound 317 pages, heavily illustrated throughout. An educational entertainment – a great way into Tasmania for the occasional visitor.

    Published in 2006 by J.C.P.L. effectively self published.

    A special edition from a unique work of historical significance – an Australian National Treasure.


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  • Sikes Hydrometer by Buss – Hatton Garden, London – c1900

    Sikes Hydrometer by Buss – Hatton Garden, London – c1900

    A lovely classic Edwardian Sikes hydrometer sold by and with the bone plate of Buss of 48 Hatton Gardens, London.

    The float and all the weights carrying the same identification number – the float is engraved Buss. The bone backed thermometer also engraved with makers name and address. The plush lined box is as original no damage – a rarity.

    The Houses of Parliament in England wanted a better and more reliable hydrometer to use as an instrument for levying duty on beer, wine and spirits. Various glass instruments based on Robert Boyle’s principles were in use – none too reliable or trustworthy. So they ran a competition similar to that for the solution to the Longitude – won by Harrison and his chronometer. Sikes won this one with his rather beautiful looking instrument and it became enshrined in the legislation that the Sikes method should be used.

    Complete quality Hydrometer – love it!


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  • Australian Eastern Shovelnose Ray –  by Shaw & Nodder – 1791

    Australian Eastern Shovelnose Ray – by Shaw & Nodder – 1791

    Very early copper engraved hand coloured engraving of the Australian Eastern Shovelnose Ray (Aptychoterma Rostrata) which you can find along the coast from Newcastle in NSW to the Far North in Queensland, more prevalent around the Barrier Reef. Very good condition original 18thC colouring.

    A medium sized ray with a long flattened triangular snout, wedge shaped disk and shark like tail. Sexually dimorphic dentition – the males have elongated carps on their anterior teeth that allow them to grip the female during mating … ouch.

    George Shaw oversaw the Natural History Department at the British Museum. Nodder was a natural history artist and worked for Banks on his Florilegium.

    Price unframed $90.00 or $190.00 framed in Voyager Natural History style.

    Very early Australian Fish Engraving


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  • Bronze Plaque Swedish Polar Explorer Otto Nordenskiöld by Austrian Artist Hugo Taglang – 1905

    Bronze Plaque Swedish Polar Explorer Otto Nordenskiöld by Austrian Artist Hugo Taglang – 1905

    Produced to commemorate the Antarctic achievements of Swedish explorer Otto Nordenskiöld (1869-1928) who led a Heroic Era expedition to the Antarctic in 1901-1904. A fine image of the man decked out in heavy polar furs.

    Nordenskiold arrived in the Antarctic in 1901 and wintered on Snow Hill Island. Unfortunately, their ship the ‘Antarctica” got trapped in ice and sank in 1903. His back up Larsen eventually met up with the stranded team but was unable to get them away. They were eventually rescued by the Uruguayan Navy. Despite all this their visit was hailed a scientific success as they explored and researched much of Graham Land.

    Nordenskiöld was made Professor of Geography at Gothenburg University in 1905 the year this commemorative was struck. He later went on to explore northern Greenland and in the 1920’s certain parts of South America. He was killed by a bus in Gothenburg crossing the road.

    80mm by 57mm weighing 170gm. The artist medallist Hugo Taglang (1874-1944) was born in Vienna. An example of this item is shown in the National Maritime Museum Collection, London ID MEC 2149.

    Otto Nordenskiöld an unusual Antarctic commemorative


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  • Antique Mineral Testing Kit – “Blowpipe Apparatus” by J.T. Letcher of Cornwall. Circa 1880-90

    Antique Mineral Testing Kit – “Blowpipe Apparatus” by J.T. Letcher of Cornwall. Circa 1880-90

    Museum quality example rarely found with so many remaining pieces. See Powerhouse Museum online for similar example reference H9154; also website 911Metallurgist for a good description of its use.

    These field kits were used in Australia by explorers and early State Geologists – the likes of Logan Jack, Rands, Dunston etc. they include apparatus and chemicals for grinding the sample, heating it and observing the colours in the flame to identify the constituent minerals.

    Designed and manufactured by J.T. Letcher of Truro Cornwall and awarded the Society of Arts Silver Medal and the Colonel Croll Prize in International Competition in 1878. Each set guaranteed to equal that deposited at the Society’s House.

    The use of the blowpipe was invented in Sweden in the 1700’s and further refined there at the Freiberg Mining Academy in the mid 19thC. This design by J.T. Letcher and its accoutrements became the standard in the later Victorian period.

    Original mahogany box containing a lift out tray with multiple compartments and layers containing tools, the blowpipe, a small anvil, rock hammer, spirit lamp, several chemical reagents in original containers etc.

    The containers are made of box wood with names to top lovely patina. Miniature test tubes with labels, test tube holder and much more.

    The original label inside the lid describes the contents full, a hole has been gouged, presumably to rest the crucible confirming this set saw field service. The crucible was made by and marked Royal Worcester – how good is that.

    The box still has it’s lock but the key is long gone. It has a worked patina and is still robust.

    Something special in the mineral field.



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